Chertsey 2 Westfield 2 Match Report
Courtesy and Copyright Chertsey Town FC
The highest Alwyns Lane attendance of the season of 414 spectators were kept warm as both teams turned up the heat in this pulsating league encounter. Next to nothing had separated hosts Chertsey Town and visitors Westfield near the top of the table. This was mirrored in the final score line that was fully alive well into stoppage time when the Curfews looked to have hit a winner, only for it to be ruled out for offside.
New centre back Matt Drage was unavailable so will have to show patience to make his home debut. The number five shirt was ably worn by Scott Day, but it was Glenn Yala, in at right back taking the place of the normally first choice, but injured Lewis Taylor, who caught the eye.
It was as well that the defence were on the ball for Westfield provided the toughest test for Chertsey on their own patch to date. You could say that the visitors shaded the ascendancy battle with a statistic not far removed from (almost) recent UK referendum values, but as usual, it is goals that count.
The two that Westfield hit were almost seen to be coming, in contrast to Chertsey’s which, at each time, looked less likely to arrive. That is not to demean Town’s performance. They played exceptionally well with pace determination and skill but their opponents also had their attributes which made this encounter one to savour. It was blue spirit, and not a little skill, that won not only a league point, but also admiration from the sidelines.
It took a good 20 minutes for Chertsey to get going with Westfield looking the livelier at the start. Goalkeeper Nick Jupp was called to spread his body across Max Blackmore when the number nine broke through after only two minutes. Town were also forced into conceding a plethora of free kicks. None were for lethal misdemeanours, but a worry built that one of them would eventually do some damage.
From one such kick, on 12 minutes, Anis Nuur headed narrowly wide. Westfield continued to press, especially with dissecting balls facilitated by good forward movement, but often accompanied with offside positions. Aron Watson for the Woking based side also delivered a sharp shot, but Jupp was even sharper with the save.
Town showed positive signs once the quarter point of the game was reached and this blossoming yielded a very well taken goal on 27 minutes. the ball was splayed out to the left by Casey Maclaren where Mason Welch-Turner had space. He used the elbow room well and sent over a cross, just beyond the goalmouth, where Lubo Guentchev smashed it home on the volley from eight yards.
Both sides looked menacing going forward but Westfield reaped their reward four minutes before the interval. Max Blackmore collected off another through ball and fired the ball into the net at the second attempt after Jupp had blocked the first. Jake Baxter almost replied at the other end moments later but fired wide.
The second half provided more attacking football. A strong Casey Maclaren run gave Sam Murphy a chance to regain the lead for Chertsey but he shot wide. It was then the turn of Westfield to come close with Blackmore firing straight at Jupp, followed a few minutes later by Tinashe Nkoma with a shot that swerved narrowly wide.
The visitors began to find an edge. This resulted in them turning over the lead with a goal on 75 minutes. A potent run into the heart of the Chertsey penalty area by Aaron Watson, set up George Frith, who at such close quarters, would have found it next to impossible not score.
Town were pinned back in the latter stages and it seemed all the points were heading out of the ground. However, on 90 minutes, Town pulled one out of the bag. A lob into the box was headed towards goal by Day, but parried. The ball fell to Murphy stationed centrally at the edge of the area and he let rip, sending the ball into the top corner of the Westfield net.
It seemed that a draw would be the final score but then, three minutes into stoppage, keeper Gary Ross mishit a clearance. It was intercepted by Dale Binns and with acres of space, swept the ball into the middle past Ross. It might have gone in of its own volition but Jonathan Hippolyte became involved but, from an offside position and the potential winner was ruled out.
In the interests of fairness, it would have been a cruel blow to Westfield, had it counted, despite falling to bits in stoppage time. They had done more than enough to earn a point, and applause, along with the home side in equal measure, for proving such strong entertainment on a dank and chilly November afternoon.